Which budget gravel bike UK

Hey I’m looking for a gravel bike ideally around £1k. It’s for commuting 70:30 road: tracks and general fun. Definitely want it to be able to do a decent turn on both road and track as it’ll also be my winter training bike.

I’m leaning towards 2x for the range and gaps on the road but am open minded to opinions. I hear trp spyres are the brakes to aspire to(ahem) at this budget. Hydraulics are thin on the ground below £1k.

I’ve linked my current front runner below and am open to suggestions. Thanks!


A bit over budget, but great spec (GRX) for the money: Wilier Jareen GRX Alloy Gravel Bike | Merlin Cycles

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Thanks that is a nice bike, I could afford it although it is a stretch. I do like it. The spec is good but it’s kind of on the heavy side at 11kg.

I am just having paralysis by analysis right now and can’t make up my mind on anything!

I’ve had a Planet X London Road as a commuter for about 5 years, £900 right now. A true do everything bike, even did a few cross races on it.

Thanks. How is it on the gravel? I really like the TI version.

Boardman Adv 8.9 looks decent, too.

What type of gravel? It can take fairly wide tyres, I had 35s on it, but think you could go wider. I never had issues just riding any sort of path on it.

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Just forest tracks mainly sometimes a little bit of looser gravel, light mud.

It will be absolutely fine on that, no problem at all.

I had mine as my only bike for a while, so did long road rides (c2c), club rides, long commutes, but also blasts through the woods and canal path and so on. Started doing cross races on it, then n+1 took hold and I bought dedicated cross and road bikes…

For me the downsides were the slightly heavy frame, external cable routing, and QR wheels. But the new version seems to have through axle now (the disc brake fork with QR was hard to get right and always squeeling). For a commuter bike, it was really good though, proper mudguard mounts and even rack mounts if you want too.

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I do really like it and might stretch to the ti version as I have wanted ti bike for years. I appreciate your input thanks.

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Just looked at the specs, the Ti version seems a lot better. They used to do better specs (full rival groupset/brakes) on the alloy version too, but not right now.

They used to do another Ti bike that I liked, but have never ridden myself, called Tempest, but more ££.

I do like the tempest but it’s just edging away from what I want to spend on a winter bike.

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Triban GRVL RC520. 1x SRAM Apex, cable hydraulics, 47c 650b. Mudguard/rack mounts. It’s £1199.


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You’re right to go 2x for a multi-use bike, especially if you’re going to end up with separate road and gravel wheelsets at some point. 10-42 or 11-42 cassettes just don’t quite have the range to do both the steepest gravel climbs and keep up with a brisk road ride on the same chainring. 1x is a great setup for single use but I didn’t fancy swapping chainring sizes on the regular so I went back to 2x for my multi-use bikes. It was fine on the road if I was riding solo, but became frustrating in a group.

Worth checking out the Vitus Substance. Sora spec version would leave you budget to spare for tyres/mudguards/etc. if your size is in stock. I’ve got last year’s version as my commuter / my partner’s bike and it’s decent. The GRX400 version has wheels and chainset that I think you’d struggle to find elsewhere at that price point if you’ve got loyalty discount, but may be out of your budget.

And I’d have a look at Merlin’s own-brand offerings as well, though I don’t personally love the spec sheet on anything listed at the moment.

Wilier linked above seems decent, but it looks like it’s a QR rear wheel, which would put me off it. Boardman mentioned above is a great package and I’ve got a few clubmates who are really happy with theirs.

Of course Ti is fun and lush and may be just the thing to inspire you to get out and ride, but PlanetX says max tyre is 35c. Sounds like Splash thought you could go bigger, but if not then it’s never going to be able to push beyond ‘allroad’ to ‘all day gravel bike’, which may or may not be fine depending on your needs.

If you end up with TRP Spyres (or any cable disc brakes) and find them disappointing then re-cable them with compressionless housing. It makes an enormous amount of difference & I think it’s shocking that brands aren’t willing to spend a few pence extra to put it on bikes as stock.

You mentioned somewhere that 11kg was too heavy - I don’t think you’re going to get under 10kg at this price point. My custom Ti bikepacking bike with GRX810, carbon wheels, finishing kit, etc. is nearly 10kg and my carbon gravel race bike with the same groupset, wheels, etc. is nearly 9kg - that includes pedals, bottle cages, etc. so not a direct comparison, but it’s just to say that this kind of bike is going to be ~1000-1500g heavier than an equivalent spec disc brake road bike and probably even a bit more when compared to rim brake bikes.

Of course everything I’ve said is subjective, YMMV, etc.

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I built up a Merlin Malt G2X from the frameset last year The frame is good value, and if you can source the parts you can get a good bike built up.
It’s perfectly capable on roads, and copes well with light gravel and dodgy mountain roads here in southwestern Japan.

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Pretty sure a 46 chainring and 10-42 cassette is basically the same range as 34/50 with 11-30 or so. (Might look at bikecalc.com for exact ratios). Though one point to note is that none of the cheapish bikes come with a hub for a 10t sprocket.

I do get your point about fast group rides and really steep climbs, and I do have a 52/36 on my summer bike… but for commuting, winter rides, and a bit of off-road detouring, for me 1x is perfectly fine.

I’m in Scotland so maybe steeper than where you are, but IME unless you’re well over 4w/kg a 1:1 (or lower) bottom gear is necessary for long days out on gravel. GRX standard spec is either a 40t or 42t chainring so you’d have to go aftermarket for a 46t and I’d say that’s getting into the territory of a road setup.

(A 46t 1x setup would probably be fine for me too if it was only ever going to do light gravel duties though)

Thanks it’s good but it’s just never in stock

Oh yeah, for proper offroad gravel rides I’d use something much smaller than a 46t. The point was that a 46t gives you essentially a road setup.

But my understanding was that the OP was looking for some sort of all-terrain road bike, not necessarily something to take up 25% rocky climbs.


Yeah absolutely an all terrain road bike is what I’m after.

Some great information in this thread thanks everyone.

Thanks. I thought 11kg sounded heavy but the more I look it’s just that gravel bikes are generally heavier.

I have the same concerns with the clearance on the London road - the tempest looks like a better option for me but it’s a bit expensive. I think the London road would easily cope with what I ride right now but if I wanted to reach beyond that it might come up a bit short